“A ten-mile loop highlighting the northern area of Mueller State Park.
— Allen Tanner
The Cheesman Ranch Loop ride highlights north Mueller State Park, incorporating Cheesman Ranch (Trail 17)
, Elk Meadow (Trail 18)
, and Homestead (Trail 12)
Family Friendly: Easy doubletrack trails.
Entrance fee of $7 or annual pass is required for Mueller State Park.
From Highway 24, turn south on Highway 67 and drive about four miles. On the right (west) side of the road will be the entrance to Mueller State Park. A $7 daily fee (or annual pass) is required at the entrance. Drive to the end of the paved loop and the parking is available at the trailhead.
The loop begins counterclockwise following the Cheesman Ranch (Trail 17)
. The path winds through aspen and pine groves and grassy meadows. At the northernmost point of the trail there is an old barn with equipment that still stands. Further along, the trail runs by the Cheesman Ranch.
The trail then climbs, continuing south along Elk Meadow (Trail 18)
for another mile and a half, before turning west. Here, the trail climbs back to the paved Mueller Park access road. At the trailhead, ride north up the road for a few meters then turn left (west) onto the Homestead (Trail 12)
A quick descent marks the next mile, followed by a relatively flat path winding through pine and aspen groves. The last mile is a short climb and meets up at the trailhead of Cheesman Ranch (Trail 17)
Mueller State Park and surrounding land was once hunting grounds for the Ute Indians.
In the 1860s, ranchers and farmers moved into the area and, later in the 1900's, many miners were drawn to the area with the Cripple Creek gold rush. The city of Divide supplied lumber, mining supplies, food such as potatoes and lettuce, to the miners.
W.E. Mueller later purchased ten of the ranches and homesteads to create Mueller Ranch. In the 1980's, the Mueller family designated the ranch as a game preserve and later sold the land to the Colorado State Parks and Wildlife.